Do I Need a Root Canal or a Tooth Extraction? By Alex Hecht on August 11, 2023

Woman with a sore tooth

When dentists try to improve oral health, this typically means preventing tooth loss. Yet there are cases when an extraction of a problem tooth may be necessary. For example, it may not be possible to perform root canal therapy or other restorative dentistry procedures on some infected teeth. Sometimes extraction is preferable.

Our dental care team in Staten Island, NY, would like to consider the nature of root canal infections. We’ll note what root canal infections are, why tooth extraction may be preferable to root canal therapy in some cases, and different ways that dentists can replace a missing tooth caused by root canal infection.

What Is a Root Canal Infection?

A root canal infection occurs when oral bacteria reaches the inner chamber of a tooth. Within that chamber is a substance known as dental pulp. Infection of the dental pulp can cause the infection to spread.

If left untreated, a root canal infection can lead to bone loss in the jaw, tooth loss, and even sepsis, which could be potentially fatal.

Signs and Symptoms of a Root Canal Infection

The most common signs and symptoms of a root canal infection include:

  • Toothaches - A sore or painful tooth is a common sign of many root canal infections. The pain does not have to be from biting or chewing.
  • Change in Tooth Color - Infected teeth may turn yellow or brown, darkening as the infection spreads.
  • Dental Abscess - A small pimple-like bump may appear along the gums by the infected tooth.
  • Chronic Bad Breath - The bacteria that caused the infection may produce a foul odor. The smell may also be caused by pus from the abscess.

If you notice any of the above symptoms, schedule a consultation at Staten Island Aesthetic & Implant Dentist. Early detection and treatment can save the tooth and prevent further discomfort.

Avoiding Tooth Loss from a Root Canal Infection

The ideal way to prevent tooth loss or the need for tooth extraction is to undergo root canal therapy. This procedure involves the removal of the infected dental pulp. This treats the infection, preventing its spread. The pulp chamber is sterilized and filled with an inert material and then capped to restore normal biting and chewing function.

When Does an Infected Tooth Require Extraction?

An infected tooth may need to be extracted if the diseased pulp cannot be removed, or if the bone loss in the jaw has left the tooth too loose and wobbly. It’s a matter of assessing the harm caused by the infection and considering what options help the patient have a healthy smile.

Replacing the Extracted Tooth

If you do lose a tooth due to a root canal infection, there are different options for tooth replacement. You may receive a dental bridge, which helps fill the gap left behind by the missing tooth. It’s also possible to have a dental implant placed to support a custom dental crown.

During the consultation process, we will discuss your options for treatment and help you decide which one is right for your dental health needs.

Schedule a Consultation

If you would like to learn more about treating and preventing root canal infections, we encourage you to contact our practice to schedule a consultation. The entire team at Staten Island Aesthetic & Implant Dentist looks forward to your visit.

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Dr. Alex Hecht and Dr. Jason Hecht

Staten Island Aesthetic & Implant Dentist

Our family-run practice, led by Dr. Alex Hecht and Dr. Jason Hecht, is guided by compassionate and genuine care for our patients. Several distinctions set us apart:

  • Creating beautiful smiles since 1978
  • One of the largest practices in the region
  • Excellence in treating even the most complex cases
  • Advanced cone beam computed tomography (CT) scanner
  • Dedication to continuing education
  • Incorporation of the latest techniques

To set up a consultation or learn more about our services, reach out to our office online or call (718) 705-4434.

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